Monday Motivation

Monday Motivation

How on earth did we reach the middle of February already? 2019, please slow down!

I’ve had a good week again, staying on track up to the weekend. Here’s a quick rundown of my activity for last week:

Monday: walk. I had a meeting in Glasgow and so I knew that I wasn’t going to make it to class. Instead, I was sure to get enough steps in for the day.

Tuesday: a triple activity day which made up for the day before – Alison and I had another lunchtime trail run. It was sunny and mild, and I made progress, running slightly farther up the hill than before.

In the evening I enjoyed Sculpt- I upped my resistance bands for every exercise and Jacqui upped some of the reps, so it was a real challenge. After, we had Trigger Point Pilates, working into shoulders in particular.

Wednesday: back to Jog Scotland- and we did lamp post sprints this week. 10 mins warm up jog, 10 mins sprints, 10 mins cool down. Loved it!

Thursday: it was Valentine’s Day but we still had class to go to! Jacqui ran a special PiYo Candlelight Flow class which was beautiful. And she had a rose for each of us to take home at the end, it was lovely! 🌹

Friday: It was an early start and a full on day in Edinburgh to see Les Miserables. I kept my eating on track but didn’t do much by way of exercise.

Saturday: we spent the day in Edinburgh, and while there we walked. A lot. One example – We walked through Prince St Gardens, then up the zig-zagging hill to Edinburgh Castle, then we walked the length of the Royal Mile to Holyrood Palace. And lots more besides!

Sunday: rest. Travelling home and getting organised for the week was my priority.

I was this pic on Reece Witherspoon’s Instagram during the week, and I really need to share it as today’s motivation:

Have a wonderful week!

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Wednesday Wisdom

Wednesday Wisdom

Monday Motivation

Monday Motivation

How on earth did we get to the end of January? As usual, this month has felt endless- but at the same time I can’t believe I’m already a month into my challenge to get back on track. I’ve had another fantastic week, both my fitness and my eating has been on track so I’m pleased. There’s been no secret to this- it has been down to preparation and making sure I stick to the plan. So far, so good! Here’s how my week turned out:

Monday: I did two classes. First up was Core Conditioning. It’s tough, it I had definitely made progress compared to the previous week’s class. And the DOMS I had in Tuesday and Wednesday were a real testament to that. We then had Veraflow which was great for stretching and for balance, and ends with a much welcomed mindfulness session.

Tuesday: we had snow, and the roads were a bit tricky so classes weren’t on. However at lunchtime I headed out with Alison for a snowy run, to christen my new trail shoes. It was beautiful!

Wednesday: the previous days snow had frozen so JogScotland was cancelled, but I wanted to give my new trail shoes a go on ice, so I met up with Alison and Lesley for a short run. We did lamppost sprints, which I’d never do in my own.

Thursday: the weather had improved and Class was back on so it was back to PiYo, which I had missed the previous week. It was one of those nights when everything clicked and it was great!

Friday: I had a rest day after four solid days of activity.

Saturday: the weather was wild with winds and driving, icy rain but I was determined to get out and test my new trail shoes on a muddy trail. I reckon that it’s very likely the weather won’t cooperate on the day of the Kintyre Way Relay so I might as well train and get ready for that. I did just short of 3.5 miles doing the short Castle loop three times. I focused on building confidence running downhill in the slippy mud and I think I did that. I did walk at times, and stopped to take plenty of pictures – I loved it. I had planned to do 4 miles but I’m happy enough with how my run went.

Sunday: a rest day. I’m heading into another busy week and in the past my enthusiasm has overruled my sense and I’ve pushed too hard, too soon resulting in injury. I’m going to take my time to build up slowly in the coming weeks, balancing distance with hills and cross training to hopefully achieve the best results.

I’ve also done more mindfulness this week, I’m sure that’s not done any harm whatsoever!

Here’s some motivation that has worked for me, if you’re flagging as we head into the last few days of this month:

Have a great week!

Monday Motivation

Monday Motivation

How was your first full week back in 2019? I’m going to start in reverse order by telling you that I had a brilliant trip away in Belfast for the weekend, where we all surprised my mum while she was there for her birthday/retirement. It was ace!

But before that I had a really good week of eating well and cutting out the rubbish. Jacqui has set up a four week New Year Reset, just to get everyone back on track after indulging over Christmas. It’s not about weight loss, but about nourishing your body and feeling more energised. So far, so good!

Here’s what I did for exercise last week:

Monday: no class, so we went for a walk

Tuesday: no class, another walk.

Wednesday: Jog Scotland was back, and was busy- which was great to see. We did a 10 minute warm up jog, 10 minute tempo run, 10 minute cool down jog. I was very happy to be back.

Thursday: I joined Alison and Morag for a trail run around Kilmory Loch at lunchtime, I had never run there before and I loved it! At night it was also the return of PiYo and we started a new round. The lower body track is a bit of a challenge!

Friday: I planned to run but I had a little hip niggle so rather than risk it I went for a walk and did some TPP to help to ease it off.

All in all, it was a good week but I’m really looking forward to classes all being back this week.

I’ve signed up to do the Kintyre Way Ultra Relay along with Alison and Morag. We’ll be doing one section each of the 33 mile route so we’re planning to run together one lunchtime each week which should really help with training. I’ve ordered new trail shoes as my current ones are ancient, but faithful servants! Bring on the hills!

I’m looking forward to another great week 👍🏻

Enjoy your week!

SpartanJogger Training Continues 

SpartanJogger Training Continues 

Well, in a fashion it does. And by fashion I mean this rather swish Spartan Ambassador Tee 😉   As the weeks go by, I’m feeling much more like my old self physically, but I still have a way to go with some numbness in my right thigh, triceps and upper back. My left knee isn’t collapsing nearly as much but I’ve not ventured a run on it yet. 

I had a great night at WAR last Monday working on my core, legs and arms in particular but I didn’t use my weighted gloves- I’m planning to add them back in tomorrow night, if my osteopath appointment goes ok. I was a bit wobbly in the legs last week, too, but much improved from the previous week. 

Yesterday, @TheWelshWookie and I went for a long, hilly walk in the woodlands above Tarbert, getting in six miles which was a real achievement: I felt ok physically, with my left leg struggling a little only in the downhill sections. 

The view was gorgeous:   When we got back, I did some work comparing my current training to the Spartan guide and there are some gaps I need to work on. Granted, I’m very happy that I’m already working hard on squats, lunges, planks, press ups and other key strength exercises, but I do have some gaps to address:

Bear Crawls: I’ll need to work on these to get my butt under the barbed wire. Not sure what to do beyond focussing on dropping my hips when holding a plank.

Pull Ups: Nope. Definitely a gap for me. Not sure I’ll ever manage pull ups so I’m going to rely on The Wookie punting me up ropes and walls 😆. Meanwhile I’ll work on my next gap:

Box Jumps: I’ve asked The Wookie to find a suitable implement we can use for practicing these- my coffee table is too high, higher than a dining chair. Still working on this one for now but I know it will be a critical one.

Sandbag Lifts: we’ve been working on imaginary sandbag lifts at WAR so I’ll have to really focus on this, and see if there’s something I can use in the meantime to build some strength here.

Not too bad, though, four key areas for development in terms of strength.

In the coming week I’m hoping to try a short run/walk/run so wish me luck with that, it’s been five weeks since my last run so I’m missing it terribly! 

All in all, training is slow: my focus has been in recovery and on returning to fitness in a measured way. Long may it continue but with five weeks until the Spartan run I hope that my improvements build momentum as my confidence in what I can do returns. 😀

Monday Motivation

Monday Motivation

Hello, there, blog readers. How are you?

This past week has whizzed in, and in a week’s time, the inaugural Disneyland Paris Half Marathon will be all over. I feel that I’ve been waiting for this event for so long – and suddenly it’s approaching far too quickly!

Training last week went really well, with Body Conditioning, PiYo and another VeraFlow session. I also did a very comfortable 5k and 10k, so I reckon I’m about ready for race day as I can be.

We’ve also done all of the rest the prep: we’re packed, we have all of the waivers and forms printed and signed, Euros ordered and flights checked in. Roll on Saturday morning!

This week, I’m keeping training very light: I have Body Conditioning tonight and I’ll also do a couple more 5k runs – nothing strenuous, keeping everything gentle at this stage. I’ll be missing PiYo and VeraFlow on Thursday, though, which I’m sad about – I love these classes so much! But it’s only for one week. I’ll be back for some post-race recovery next week.

What do you have planned this week? Any training scheduled? Remember this – it’s how I think I’ll be phrasing Sunday’s run in my head:

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Have a brilliant week!

 

Race Report: The Tarbert TT10K 2015

Race Report: The Tarbert TT10K 2015

Date: 15th August 2015

Profile: Mostly flat, but with three killer hills

Terrain: Mixed: road and trail

Weather: Warm and sunny, but with short rain showers

Website: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Tarbert-10km/570186306335004

Positives: Brilliant course, awesome views and the best support. Beats bigger races for organisation!

Negatives: Those flipping hills!

This was the third year of my local race, the Tarbert 10K. If you read my post on Monday, you’ll know that @TheWelshWookie and I tagged along on the 5k and ran it before the 10K, but this report is focussing on the main event we signed up for – the 10K.

I’ll also begin by noting that I didn’t take anywhere near as many pictures before the race started – I think I was just too busy thinking about enjoying the run! 🙂

As I always do, I had my race gear ready to go the night before. I had two tops sorted, road shoes for the 5K and trail shoes for the 10K at the ready. Note the second ‘elite’ race number in a row – after being Number 1 for the Carradale Canter, I was now Number 2 for the TT10K! 😀  

 This race had an 11 am start, but we were up and breakfasted early, and ready to run the earlier 5K at 10am. @TheWelshWookie drove the car into the village so that we had somewhere to stash our change of t shirts and shoes, and some snacks for in between the runs, and then we had a lovely stroll down to the harbour in the sunshine.  

 We were so busy chatting away to other runners, supporters and marshals that we almost missed the start of the 5K! But, we made it, and thoroughly enjoyed the fast, flat course, and the brilliant support. We were done in 33.15, which was a surprise, as we planned to take it really easy.

We had a quick change, and once again made our way to Garvel Road end for the start of the 10K. We mustered at the back, knowing that we’d be amongst the slower runners. We listened to the race briefing, pointing out the mud we could expect at Maggies Cottage and at the Tarbert Castle loop. There had been a couple of changes to the route this year. Instead of entering the first trail section through the main gates of the Heritage Centre, we entered through the gates to the horse paddock, and ran over the rubber surface. That was different! Our return into the village had changed too, and we had to run past our house, along side the astroturf, along the TAWNI path and out at the school where @TheWelshWookie works before heading back out along the harbour. It was great to mix it up!

Here’s a map of the race:  

 The race was started by a countdown and an air horn, and we were off. We didn’t start too fast, and kept to our planned pace, knowing that the first section involved a climb uphill, with a tight turn. It’s always a hard start to a race, and this year was no different! But the views at the top of Lady Ileene Road are worth it, sweeping over the harbour. We could then recover on the downward run back off Lady Ileene Road and towards the Herifage Centre, through the rubber paddock and onto the first trail section up to Maggie’s Cottage. This is a long, slow incline on a muddy trail up to a turning point that gradually gets steeper and steeper. We were warned by Muriel, one of the marshals, to keep to the middle as it was very slippery on the left. Fortunately, as there were no more runners during our descent, we could actually run on the right, and could avoid the slip hazard altogether.

We headed out of the heritage centre, back onto the road and towards our house. Hazel caught a great photo of us at this point:  

 Thanks Hazel! And @TheWelshWookie half joked about popping home for a cuppa 😉

Next we ran a route we do most days – along past the astroturf, so it was a very comfortable run for us. We then made our way up the TAWNI trail path (TAWNI stands for Tarbert Academy Wildlife & Nature Initiative) towards the school, and then downhill to the harbour. We then ran our usual route along the front, past the 5K mark, all the way to the turning circle at the end, known locally as The Concrete. There, we were met by Jacqui and some others, with water and some much needed jelly babies!

We headed off again, back along the harbour, and up to the killer hill at Big Brae. We did not even attempt to run this – it’s a definite walk, with its steep incline and twists and turns! We also had faster runners hurtling past us heading back downhill, so it was easier for them if we walked, tucking ourselves into the left hand side. Then, we were at the muddy, boggy, Castle Loop, with its hills. But, like other parts of the course, it’s well worth it for the stunning views. I’m pleased to report that we didn’t see any adders this time!

Already we had reached the five mile mark, at the top of the final, big hill. We made our way back around the remainder of the loop, back down big brae, and along the harbour to the finish line.

As every other year, the support was fantastic, with plenty of cheering and support. I haven’t mentioned how well marshalled this event is, with plenty of guidance and help, and cheers along the way. It really does knock the socks off other events.

We gratefully received our hand made, pottery medals which were white this year, and our goody bags – turquoise gym bags with the TT10K logo on them. They were fab! And the neon orange T shirt is great for running on roads, like we do around here.

The Fisherman’s Mission were supporting the event, and there was copious amounts of tea, coffee, home baking and most especially tablet! This was manned by my friend and colleague Sheena, who snuck me a piece of tablet as I waited in the queue. Thanks, Sheena!

There was enough food to feed three villages – we could help ourselves to the home baking, as well as to water, apples, bananas, Tunnock’s caramel wafers, mars bars and a wide selection of pre-packed sandwiches. I grabbed a mars bar, water and a tuna & sweet corn sandwich – a perfect take away lunch!

We waited around, chatting with other runners, comparing times and tales from the run. We then watched the prize giving, with winners receiving bespoke acrylic plaques from Midton Acrylics. They were really unusual and brilliant!

Before we left, I popped over to have a quick chat with Lorraine, one of the organisers, and congratulated her on a job well done – and thanked her for yet another brilliant event. 

Our stats: 1:16:27. 10 minutes slower than the first year; but 2 minutes faster than last year, which is fantastic, given we had just run a 5K and last year was on fresh legs 🙂

The Medal: A locally made pottery medal, with the Tarbert Castle logo embossed on it.  

 Goody Bag: A fab gym bag with the logo on it, T shirt, trolley coin, air freshener, water and mars bar. I didn’t know these were in there before I took another of each, along with my sandwich too!  

 T-shirt: Bright neon orange this year, with silver writing and logo, with the local slogan ‘Run, Jeck, Run’ on the back 😀

 
   
I now feel ready for the Great North Run, and just need to keep on track over the next few weeks. This race is a must in my calendar, it’s been very highly rated in Runner’s World, so please check it out. Even better, come and join us next year!

Race Report: GB Relay 2014

Race Report: GB Relay 2014

Date: 8th June 2014

Profile: Flat

Terrain: Road

Weather: Warm and sunny

Website: http://gbrelay.com/

Positives: a very different experience, feel-good factor of participating in a world record attempt

Negatives: the time slippage

OK, so the GB Relay 2014 isn’t a race, but I thought I’d report on it using my normal format 😉

The GB Relay is a world record breaking attempt for the longest continual running relay. Each participant signs up for a stage which vary in length, but average out at around 10K. There is a baton containing a GPS unit transferred from runner to runner, and everyone is responsible for their own safety, checking out their route, etc. As it isn’t a race, and each stage has a start and finish time, everyone is encouraged to run 10 minute miles.

The first major difference for @TheWelshWookie and I in participating in this was the time of our stage: we were due to run at 6.19pm, which meant no early rise, and no need to pack the night before. We had super quality relay T shirts, which were personalised:

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So, on Sunday, we headed first to Oban, did some shopping, then onto Strath of Appin, which was our end point. We parked the car, and got ready: I gave myself a thorough coating of both suncream and midge repellent: I needed both! As we had no support available due to a family event, we had to walk to the start point of our stage: the village of Duror, in the Highlands, 8 miles away.

In the week leading up to the event, I’d been in touch with the runners on either side of our stage to agree handover locations and swap contact numbers, to keep everyone updated on progress. As @TheWookie and I were a couple of miles into our walk, we heard that the relay was running about an hour behind schedule 😦

It was too late for us to turn back and wait in the car, so we continued on, enjoying the scenery, and checking out the route itself. Fortunately, most of it could be run along the cycle path, with only the two miles immediately from Duror having to be run on the main road. The route was lovely:

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A team from Dunoon Hill Runners were running the two stages before us, including the hilly section over Glencoe. When they handed over to Ian, who was handing over to us, they got changed and drove to meet us in Duror, to collect Ian when he arrived. It was lovely to meet Kirsty again, and also to meet Jean and Angela. They had managed to pull back some of the time deficit, and so we weren’t delayed for quite an hour!

Before we knew it, Ian was approaching, and it was time for us to run!

Ian passed the GPS tracker to @TheWelshWookie, and we were off!

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The tracker was a small box with a handle, but was quite light. It was a little awkward to carry, but not as bad as I expected. The icky part was the handle and velcro wrist strap that was soaked in a week’s worth of runner’s sweat! Eeew! We were warned not to drop the tracker, or let it touch the ground because that would nullify the record attempt.

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Given that we were trying to run a little fast to make up time, and to get off the road section as soon as possible, the first two miles flew by. When we reached the start of mile 3, I thought we’d only gone one mile! Yay!

I really enjoyed running the middle part of the stage: it was great that we’d just walked it in reverse, as I was able to check of landmarks as we saw them.

At around mile 5, the walk around Oban, the walk to Duror and the slightly faster-than-usual pace took its toll on TheWelshWookie. His recurring knee problem made an unwelcome appearance, and for the next mile our pace slowed. At the six mile marker, we made the decision that I should run on, so that @TheWookie could run at a slower pace and not aggravate his knee further. We also wanted to finish on time, so I ran on ahead.

For the final mile, I struggled a little myself. I was relishing the opportunity to run on tired legs, and I reminded myself that this would stand me in good stead with my marathon training 😉

The final quarter mile is a long, flat stretch, and I could see Fee and the girls from Inveraray Jog Scotland, who I was handing the baton on to. They had their bright yellow t-shirts, which helped motivate me  in the final section. As they saw that I was on my own, they asked where my husband was: my first reaction was who? 😉 Oh, yeah, that’s right, I’m married! 🙂 So I said I’d ditched him due to injury 😉

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I passed on the baton, along with the message not to let it touch the ground, and off they ran!

@TheWelshWookie was only a few minutes behind, and ran most of the last mile, which is a good sign for his knee. We rehydrated, then jumped in the car and drove to Oban where we celebrated with fish and chips 😀 Yum! The sunset was spectacular, but I didn’t get a good shot of it. The sky ahead was red, with a neon-looking rainbow, I’ve never seen one like that before. This pic does not do the vibrant colours justice:

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Here’s a map of our route:

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There is no medal, and no goodie bag, but there is a feeling of accomplishment, participation and that you’re part of something, which gives this event a really special feeling.

The relay is still underway, and if all goes well is due to finish on 2nd July. I can’t wait to hear if we are record breakers!

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The GB Relay

The GB Relay

Well, @TheWelshWookie and I were hoping to run in the inaugural Rock ‘n’ Roll Liverpool half marathon next weekend. But, plans have changed, so we’ll have to pass on it this year.

So, that means that our next run will be as part of the Great British Relay 2014 on 8th June 🙂

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The aim is to break the world record for the longest continuous relay around the coast of Britain. Did someone say record attempt? We’re in!

The British coast has been split into 594 stages, and the run is done continuously, 24 hours a day, during June and July 2014.

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@TheWelshWookie and I will be running stage 138, from Duror to Strath of Appin Primary School, which is at the very north of Argyll and Bute. Our stage handover is at 18:19, and our stage is 12.5K long.

There are still a few gaps along the way, including immediately before us, so I have no idea how we’re going to get the baton!

We’re going to go for a recce on Saturday, and try to figure out how we’ll get ourselves from the finish to the car; or how we’ll get from the car (if we park it at the finish) to the starting point! I’m sure we’ll figure it out, but with no buses or trains, it’ll be a challenge 😉

We’re really looking forward to being part of such a brilliant event, and if you’re in the UK and haven’t signed up yet, visit the website  GBrelay.com

Any suggestions for how to manage the logistics? Have you signed up?

@TheWelshWookie’s review of his first HM :)

@TheWelshWookie’s review of his first HM :)

First of all let me introduce myself.

My name is Tony Jones, otherwise known as @thewelshwookie, I am a 42 year old former Rugby Player and former Martial Arts who had let himself go for a good many years. A couple of years ago, my fiancée, now my wife, @tartanjogger was training for the Glasgow Women’s 10k when she injured her ankle and had to pull out, being the supportive individual I am I offered to train with her and run the Great Glasgow Run 10k with her a few months later.
So once the injury had healed training started and this 30lb overweight middle aged man set out for his first kilometre and nearly died!!!!!!!
Fast forward to April 24th 2014 and I finally stepped up to the Half Marathon.
Having studied the Race Route the previous night, I was expecting a steep start to the race and was very pleasantly surprised! Training for the run in and around Tarbert, we have been hitting some serious hills including one that I like to refer to as ‘The B!tch’ so the gradual raise for the first 6k felt almost flat. After around 4k, we ran past the first block of serious support, a group of 20somethings with huge banners and vocals declaring ánimos, which was very uplifting, especially after just passing an empty water station, luckily we carry our own!!
The course continued through the city streets, on terrain that we like to consider flat, although some reports I have read describe as undulating, passing El Corte Ingles, Estadio Santiago Bernabéu and Peurto De Europa to name but a few!
Passing the 10 mile marker, new territory for me as this was the longest distance run in training, I was feeling great knowing that all that was left was a lap around Parque el Retiro before entering the park and hitting the finish line. I took my final energy gel and kept my head up, then it happened, we turned a corner and saw ‘La Bruja’!! The sight of this kilometre long hill in the very last stages of the run knocked me sideways and it took every ounce of mental strength I have not to start walking and crying, but somehow I managed to keep putting one foot in front of the other, nowhere near the pace I had been going but technically still running, JUST!
Entering the park, the support was amazing and gave me a burst of energy from somewhere ethereal! I now know what happens when Hulk Hogan receives power from all the Hulkamaniacs to beat the bad guy.
So, first half marathon down and looking forward to the next, as the great Mo Farah says, 2014 is the year for turning metres to miles.

tonys watch